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Harper deputy rips into McGuinty's 'discriminatory' tax-credit plan

Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Oct. 9, 2009.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

A senior federal Conservative is already stepping into the provincial election fray, expressing his outrage over Dalton McGuinty's campaign pledge to provide tax credits to companies that hire immigrants.

Less than a day after the release of the Liberal election platform, Dean Del Mastro, the Peterborough MP and parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, is calling the Ontario Liberal proposal "outrageous" and "discriminatory".

He joins Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, who said immigrants should be offended by the plan.

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The proposal would see employers receive a $10,000 credit for hiring immigrants. To Mr. Hudak, this suggests immigrants can't compete fairly with other Canadians.

More than that, however, Mr. Del Mastro says it harkens back to the early 1990s when Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae was Ontario's NDP premier. He brought in employment equity legislation to encourage the hiring of women and visible minorities.

"My opportunities were severely restricted by legislation that was supposed to be creating equality," Mr. Del Mastro said. "I was in my early 20s and thought how dare they create an entirely discriminatory policy that was going to affect my future."

As a "young white male" at the time, Mr. Del Mastro said jobs were few and far between as a result. "And here we go again," he said.

Mr. Del Mastro suggested the plan excludes young people – including university and college graduates – who are applying for jobs from getting them. He said that employment equity legislation should be equal for everyone.

"I'm shocked by it," Mr. Del Mastro said, adding that he believes it is "highly discriminatory" for people who come from "a community like mine where there is high youth unemployment."

Mr. Del Mastro added that he will only be campaigning against Mr. McGuinty's Liberals in his spare time.

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About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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